Monday, March 18, 2013

Transplant Update: First Kidney-versary

There is something in the transplant world known as the "critical year". It's the first year after a patient receives a transplant and it's the most important year. That first year is the most imuno-suppressed and the most likely period of rejection. It's the year a transplant recipient is monitored the most closely as the new graft settles into it's new home. My critical year ended on March 15th with a .89 creatinine and a party in honor of me and my sister.

Before the transplant I wrote a post about how this kidney was a miracle kidney, even before I had the transplant surgery. It was and still is a miracle kidney. At transplant clinic last week, I was told my creatinine is better than most people who don't have kidney disease, and is a rare occurance in transplant patients. During my critical year my creatinine (which measures the function of the kidney) didn't rise above 1. One early Monday morning last January I was sitting in the outpatient lab waiting room at University Hospital, coat on, pager held, waiting for my turn to get the butterfly in my hand, when a woman came and sat next to me. She started talking to me and I realized it was Maria, a woman who had been at Kolff Dialysis Center with me.

When I left KDC to transfer back to South Valley, she'd been on dialysis for 8 years. Her fistula was fading and her blood pressure would inevitably gutter halfway through her treatment. She had been listed in October, and in December got a kidney. She carried a little machine about the size of a square box of Kleenex that was removing fluid from around her new kidney. She said her creatinine had been at 2 for the first weeks after transplant but had come down to 1.3. By the time she received her transplant she'd been on dialysis for 9 years. Then my pager went off and it was my turn to pee in a cup and give 3 vials of blood.

On my way down the hill to work I decided my 26 months of dialysis weren't that bad, and my transplant had gone so well, and was continuing to function just like a native, healthy kidney that there was nothing for me to complain about. I didn't even get sick this winter. I never caught Influenza A - which most everyone else in America did, including my mom - or the pneumonia and bronhicitis my mom and dad, respectively, had. I never even got a cold, and I flew twice.

My parents decided to have an open house to celebrate our one year kidney-versary. Side note: I did not coin the term "kidney-versary". A boy named Joey did. He gave me a Fallout Boy CD on the second anniversary of my first kidney transplant. It was wrapped in newspaper and "Happy Kidneyversary" was written on it in blue marker. It was Joey's genius, I just added the hyphen. We received so much love and support that we wanted to say thank you to the masses. So we planned an open house, made many dozen little sandwiches, had many dozen desserts of varying makes and models, and, according to Max, 92 guests. In 2 hours. 

The next day, March 16th, was a beautiful day. The air was warm, the sun was out, the sky was blue. It was the first day of my new year. When I stand side by side with my sister, we make one pair of kidneys.


  1. Congrats. Many healthy returns.

  2. It was so fun to see you! Congrats kidney and Sarah!! :)